21 Jul 2011

MPs hacking report lambasts police, Murdoch company

5:41 am on 21 July 2011

The British Parliamentary Home Affairs Select Committee has issued a highly critical report on the handling of the phone hacking scandal by both the police and Rupert Murdoch's company News International.

The scandal at his News of the World newspaper has forced the resignations of senior executives at the company and two of Britain's top policemen.

The BBC reports the Commons home affairs committee also criticises News International's "deliberate attempts to thwart investigations" into hacking.

It is calling for extra resources for the police investigation so new hacking victims can be informed more quickly.

The Met singled out

The BBC says while the MPs' report blames News International for obstructing the Met's first inquiry into hacking, it says there was no "real will" on the part of Scotland Yard to tackle the news group's failure to co-operate.

It says the conduct of former Assistant Commissioner Andy Hayman, who oversaw the investigation, was unprofessional and inappropriate.

The report questions whether Mr Hayman should ever have been appointed to his role as head of counter-terrorism and says it is "deplorable" that he began working for News International two months after he left the Met.

It also criticises the Met's head of public affairs, Dick Fedorcio, for failing to conduct proper checks on Neil Wallis, an ex News of the World executive employed by the Met in 2009, who was last week questioned about phone-hacking allegations.

The committee says it is "shocked" by the way Mr Fedorcio hired Mr Wallis and says he tried to deflect blame onto a senior officer, former Assistant Commissioner John Yates.

Meanwhile, the protestor accused of throwing a paper plate of shaving foam at Rupert Murdoch as he gave evidence to the Commons media select committee has been charged with a public order offence.

Jonathan May-Bowles, 26, will appear before City of Westminster Magistrates Court on Friday, the BBC reports.

Shares in News Corporation rose by 6% at the close of trading in New York after Rupert and James Murdoch's appearances in front of the committee.

Fathers says report a let-down

Tony Phillipson's son James was the first British soldier to be killed in Helmand province, in Afghanistan, in 2006.

He says that his son's emails were hacked by News of the World journalists.

Mr Phillipson says the parliamentary committee has done nothing to cure his grief and anger, and was a complete waste of time.